Many people in New Jersey and other states treat their pets like family members and may even view them as their children. But when a couple decides to divorce, the pets are considered property in most states. Deciding which party gets custody of the animals can be incredibly challenging. There are many factors to consider when deciding who gets the pets, especially in a contentious divorce.
Deciding who gets custody
Figuring out an agreeable arrangement for pet custody during the divorce is not always easy, but it should be a top priority. While some people may want to arrange a back-and-forth custody schedule, that is not always the best situation for the animals. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement on who gets to keep the pets, the courts must intervene.
Some states are considering new regulations that allow the judge to factor in the best interests of the pets when deciding who gets custody. This approach is not unlike the process of deciding the best custody arrangement for children. The courts may take testimony from both parties to determine the motives behind each party’s desire to keep the pets. This information can be used to facilitate an arrangement that is agreeable to both parties. Often, the divorcing couple can agree on which individual gets the pets by negotiating an exchange of other desirable property.
Seek legal assistance
When settling divorce arrangements, legal advice is always beneficial. When it comes to pets, and other items that are considered property, the divorcing parties may need intervention when deciding who receives the property in dispute. An experienced New Jersey family law attorney can provide helpful information on how to negotiate through difficult legal proceedings.